Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bar Council: Return bibles immediately to BSM

KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council today called upon the Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (Mais) and Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais) to adhere to the decision of the Attorney General (AG) to immediately release the 301 copies of the AlKitab and Bup Kudus to the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM).

Christopher Leong, President of the Bar Council said that, “The Malaysian Bar views with much concern reports of the refusal by Mais and Jais to abide by the findings of the AG and to comply with his request that Jais take consequential and appropriate action in accordance with the law,” in a press statement today.

He further stressed that the AG has stated that after due investigation, he has determined that both the AlKitab and Bup Kudus are not publications in breach of Section 9(1)(a) of the Selangor Enactment under which they were confiscated by Jais.
Section 9(1)(a) provides that a person commits an offence if he in any published writing uses any words listed in Part I of the Schedule “to express or describe any fact, belief, idea, concept, activity, method or thing of or pertaining to any non-Islamic religion”. The word “Allah” is listed in Part I of the said Schedule.
Christopher said the insistence by Mais that the AG has erred is wholly misconceived and without legal basis.
“Mais and Jais have no grounds to refuse to release and return the 301 copies of the publications,” affirmed Christopher.
He also said that the call by Mais that the State Legal Advisor should apply for a court order for the disposal of the seized publications is not only incorrect, but insensitive.
“The State Legal Advisor does not have ‘locus standi’ (legal standing) to make any application as the public prosecutor is the proper party to make such application,” said Christopher .
Both publications that contained the word “Allah” were seized by Jais from BSM on January 2 earlier this year.